Thursday, May 11, 2017

Weinberg, Mieczyslaw. (1919-1996) Symphony No. 1 and 7.

From my collection.
Bought in 2010.
First listen: 24-5 & 21-6-2010.
Second listen: 3-4-2015.
Third listen: 11-5-2017.
Label: Chandos.
Recording dates: August 2008 & August 2009.
Recording venue: Concert Hall, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Recording engineer: Torbjorn Samuelsson.
Running time: 69:23.
Relevance to me: Essential.

Works performed:

Symphony No. 1, opus 10. (1942) in G minor.
Dedicated to the Red Army.

Symphony No. 7, opus 81, (1964) in C major, for Harpsichord and String Orchestra.

Dedicated to Rudolf Barshai.

Performed by:

Gothenburg SO, Thord Svedlund.

There is a lot of strength, determination and powerful narrative in the first movement of the first Symphony. Bold rhythms, pointed brass entries, writing in the strings like hammer blows. There is an urgency, pushing forwards, and a almost heralding tone in the music. Energetic counterpoint in abundance, it is as if the music will never slacken in its pace, its rather grim until the last note.

The Lento is beautiful with a fine rhythm to it, almost of Mahlerian proportions. Long stretches of legato in the strings, an unbroken melody line, quite striking.
The third movement starts of in a brisk pace, and the woodwinds heralds a decisive argument, almost in pastoral tones, waltzing as it were its way through a breezy afternoon in the rural country. It's a movement with a lot of contrasts, different moods and impressions, absurd at times, and I hear in this narrative Shostakovich loud and clear.
The Fourth movement is one of majestic character, boldly powering up the mood from the first movement. A march like urgency peeps round the door, and again Shostakovich gets in the notes, The second and third melody lines shows his genius in counterpoint again. It's really tightly controlled, nothing escapes this composer, a well build composition were every note sits comfortably at its place. And it all comes to a glorious end, as a victory over evil.
No. 7 leaves me almost speechless, after I heard the harpsichord, reminded me of Alfred Schnittke. I admire the construction of the work, and yet again the fine counterpoint, but after the first Symphony it takes some adapting. It's a lucid well structured work in which all writing is extremely beautiful. This man is a genius.
The recording is State of the Art, as is the performance.


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